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From DANGER to DIGNITY: The Fight for Safe Abortion: Even though most abortions were illegal in the United States before 1973, they were still available. The outcome, however, often depended on a woman's financial situation. Most women who sought abortions risked their lives by going to practitioners who had little or no medical training. Hospital wards were filled with victims of unsafe procedures. There were some skilled physicians who agreed to terminate pregnancies for their wealthy private patients, charging thousands of dollars. And a small number courageous individuals - doctors, midwives, nurses and others – provided relatively safe, low-cost, humane but still illegal care.
From DANGER to DIGNITY weaves together two parallel stories: the evolution of underground networks that helped women find safe abortions outside the law, and the intensive efforts by activists and lawmakers to decriminalize abortion through legislative and judicial channels. This film combines rare archival footage with interviews that document the courageous efforts of those who fought to break the silence, change the laws and end the shame which surrounded abortion when it was a crime.
This movie is part of the collection: Fadiman Social Documentaries
Director: Dorothy Fadiman, Beth Seltzer, and Daniel Meyers
Producer: Dorothy Fadiman, Daniel Meyers
Production Company: Concentric Media
Audio/Visual: sound, color
Keywords: Dorothy Fadiman; Concentric Media; Emmy Award; reproductive rights; women; women's rights; abortion; abortion laws; abortion legislation; abortion rights; women's history; women's health; pro-choice; pro-choice activism; personal stories; reproductive health; reproductive choice; medical issues; health care; public policy; human rights; underground networks; back alleys; women's history; legislators; clergy; doctors; gynecology; the Janes; clergy consultation; Pat Maginnis; Sarah Weddington; Roe v. Wade; Erika Luckett
Contact Information: Concentric Media www.concentric.org
Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs
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Subject: Let's Be Honest
Some form of abortion has been around since women discovered herbs and tinctures that could help them when something wasn't right. What ever the reason or need, every women has and should keep the right to choose. That means every single option needs to be made available. But abortion is not going to just magically go away, even when it was not legal. This is about making them safe when they are needed. This film is sensitively done, and I for one am thankful for Dorothy's work on this issue.
Dorothy Fadiman -
Subject: Safety Is An Issue
I can remember the time before Roe v. Wade, and how terrible and frightening it was for women. It was a horrible time. Like others have stated, it is not about abortions being legal or not, because the incidents of abortions was not less before Roe v. Wade, but the deaths and the incidents of women who lost the ability to have children in the future was. Women died, senselessly. Women were mutilated, senselessly. This is an important film for people to understand what we faced and what we could loose if Roe v. Wade were ever overturned. It was a nightmare time.
Subject: It boils down to ONE reason
People here (and everywhere) can list a million reasons why abortion is immoral and wrong, or they can list a million reasons why a woman has the right to choose what happens to her own body. Both lists would, hopefully, make some good points and hold merit in some way or the other. What this documentary is stating, however, is that none of that really matters when you get down to it. Abortion needed to be legalized for ONE single predominant reason. It's going to happen whether it's legal or not. Women are going to abort whether or not they have the legal right to do so. Statistically, a large number of those women who sought abortions when it was illegal, died. When those women died, their fetuses died. Today, regardless of whether it's right or wrong, women can get safe abortions and live through it. For those who choose to see it as murder, then you're essentially choosing between the murder of one person or two. There's no choice to stop women from doing it, there's no choice to save the woman and her fetus. The choice is simply, how many lives do you want to lose through abortions? One or two?
Subject: How About Some Real Reviews, Not Politics?
For those of you determined to preach your beliefs in your review, i suggest going to a forum for that for two reasons- first, this is not the place, and second, you aren't going to change anyone's mind. Maybe you get a little self-satisfaction, but NO one is going to be swayed toward your point of view simply because you choose to pontificate about it on a website. Do you go to your grocery and step on a soapbox and start windbagging? No. Don't do it here. But since you are, I will say, to every pro-lifer who values human life- put your money where your mouth is. Do not interfere with a woman's legal right to abort a fledgling that is not even a child yet. Should we force the women to give birth to 2, 3 and 4 month old fetuses so you can raise them? You are in the court of absurdity when you waste your time interfering with the rights of adults when you COULD be out campaigning for the end of the death penalty, or the end of war, or the end of hunger. Every pro-lifer I know is also pro-war. And none of yas have EVER given me a viable reason for why that is. Put up or shut up. Go take in a crack baby, go help out a homeless person. Don't get in the face of a woman who is exercising her legal right.
(Stepping down off soapbox)
Subject: Five Stars
Subject: Why stop at partial birth abortion
Why stop at partial birth abortion? Why not fight for rights to kill after the birth?. Horible you say? How twisted can the human mind get? Kill and call it a right. (While you are at it, why not lobby agaist the states who charge a double homicide for killing a pregnent woman). Maybe you could fight for rights to kill your elderly parents who are a burden.
Subject: Truly it is a fight...
I thought the purpose of abortion was to kill the baby so you can get on with your life without any further inconvenience?
So this is truly a paradox as there really is no way to make abortion safe for the baby.
Maybe someday you'll get it, but its not about your rights, its about your responsibilities.
Rosemary Vivianne -
Subject: 53 Million Unborn Babies Dead and Counting!
53 million unborn babies dead and counting since Roe v Wade. Those who support abortion are morally responsible.
Subject: One or Two
There can be no right or wrong with legal abortion. We, as a society, have decided that the health of two should prevail of the health of one.
The 13 year old who may have been "forced" into pregnancy should not have to be "forced" into a life of being unable to support herself and her child in todays world. The likely result would be the premature death of both, not one.
Within Temptation -
There's nothing dignified about abortion -- neither for the mother to be or the shredded unborn baby. There's also nothing remotely in the "minority" about those who oppose abortion. Buddhists look askew at it as a violation of the First Precept. Christians (Catholic and Protestant) take a dim view of it as well as a violation of one of the Ten Commandments. The so-called "back-alley" abortions so touted by pro-abortion factions are also a myth. However, even if they did occur, why should everything that takes place in a back alley be legalized? Prostituion? Drugs (sale and use)? Crime (rape, mugging, assault)? Bringing something from the back alley and making it legal does NOT make imbue it with dignity. Abortion will be a tragedy wherever it occurs.
Subject: A brilliant, moving piece
I have had 20 years of Catholic upbringing, and I can say that I am very glad that this film was made. The only person who should decide whether or not to have an abortion is the woman who is facing that decision, and her alone. No man, no institution, no system, NO ONE should take that decision away from her.
Subject: With Dignity
I can't imagine a more difficult topic than abortion for a documentary -- but this truly was done with dignity. Thank you for offering a perspective that is so often drowned out by a vocal minority.
Subject: Safe Abortions = Humane, Legal Medical Care
This documentary exemplifies the reason abortion MUST remain legal and accessible.
Subject: Safe abortions...
Safe abortions = no abortions!